Doctor Who: Season 16, Episode 5

The Pirate Planet: Part One (30 Sep. 1978)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 152 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 4 critic

Continuing their quest in search of the Keys to Time. The Doctor, Romana and K-9 travel to the cold planet "Calufrax" in search of the second segment to the Key to Time. But the TARDIS ... See full summary »



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Title: The Pirate Planet: Part One (30 Sep 1978)

The Pirate Planet: Part One (30 Sep 1978) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Episode complete credited cast:
Bruce Purchase ...
Andrew Robertson ...
Mr. Fibuli
Ralph Michael ...
David Sibley ...
David Warwick ...
Primi Townsend ...
Clive Bennett ...
Bernard Finch ...
Adam Kurakin ...
John Leeson ...
K9 (voice)


Continuing their quest in search of the Keys to Time. The Doctor, Romana and K-9 travel to the cold planet "Calufrax" in search of the second segment to the Key to Time. But the TARDIS accidentally lands on the planet Zanak, which is ruled by the robotic space pirate The Captain. Only to discover Zanak can travel across the galaxy and nobody on Zanak, isn't who they appear to be. Written by Daniel Williamson

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Plot Keywords:

robot dog





Release Date:

30 September 1978 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Just prior to shooting the 16th season, Tom Baker was mauled by a dog and was left with a large tear in his lip (his first thought, he claimed, was, "Now I'll be stuck with smiling parts for the rest of my career."). The wound was covered up with make-up while it was healed, but is still very noticeable throughout the season. A scene showing the Doctor banging his lip on the TARDIS console was added to "The Pirate Planet" to account for the disfigurement. See more »


[In the Captain's trophy room:]
The Captain: My trophies, Doctor. Feast your eyes on them, for they represent an achievement unparalleled in the universe.
The Doctor: What are they? Tombstones, eh? Memorials to all the worlds you've destroyed?
The Captain: Not memorials. These are the entire remains of the worlds themselves.
The Doctor: [not really listening] You come here to gloat on the wanton destruction you've wreaked on the universe.
The Captain: [to himself] I come in here to dream of freedom...
The Doctor: [realizing what he said earlier] Did you just say, "the ...
See more »


Referenced in 'Doctor Who': The Pertwee Years (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Stop It This Is Getting Very Silly
12 January 2014 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Searching for the second segment of The Key To Time the Doctor and Romana land on the Planet Calufrax where they find the oppressive regime led by the Captain are casting out a strange band of outsiders called The Mentiads . Perhaps more shocking is the fact they're not Calufrax at all

The Pirate Planet was written by Douglas Adams just before he became famous for his novel THE HITCH HIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY which gives a hint of what you might just expect from this story . It's outlandish , silly and often resembles a futuristic pantomime featuring Long John Silver . As expected Barry Purchase plays the Silver surrogate The Captain with OTT bluster and bombast which is full blown and keeping with the feel of the story . However it becomes clear that there isn't much of a story

The story itself is an unsatisfying mix of ideas and subplots . Like so many stories from the classic series the good race are non descript and bland and merely exist to suffer at the hands of the villains . It's a pity that everywhere the Tardis lands he always comes across a race called " Cypher people " who no matter what power and nuances they're given always fail to convince , usually because as seen here they're played by not very good actors who fail to make an impression on the audience . The acting is either completely uninvolving or completely OTT . In fact it's so uneven you might get seas sick watching this story . Perhaps this is why recently rewatching it I can hardly recall seeing it at all

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